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The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges to the UT Southwestern community, our country, and the world.

Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic – from the health care heroes caring for patients on the front lines to the scientists in laboratories working toward understanding more about the virus and infection – brought out the best of UT Southwestern. Our faculty, staff, students, and trainees adjusted to the demands of the pandemic, embracing virtual learning and remote work under a new normal. Against the backdrop of racial and political unrest, we remained compassionate, confident, focused, and strong. An outpouring of generosity from many in the DFW community helped support all of our efforts. In this Year in Review, take a look back at 2020 with us and see how UT Southwestern rose to the challenges of the past year to meet the needs of the community and advance the future of medicine.

2020 News Coverage Highlights

Courage in the face of COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit North Texas, UT Southwestern was already deep into preparations for  its  response  to the pandemic. Over the course of the year, the institution  would  step up by  expanding testing, offering  clinical trials, conducting research, developing a  sophisticated forecasting  model, and counseling  local, state, and national policymakers. All the while, UT Southwestern diligently  protected  the safety of its  people  under  the steady hand of President Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky – leading with integrity and compassion.

Drive through Testing

Responding to a crisis 

Safety procedures  went into effect around campus to protect patients, visitors, and clinical staff at hospitals, clinics, and other facilities, including a drive-through testing facility  and  a special COVID-19  ward  at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. Assisted by the Information Resources team, thousands of employees quickly shifted to remote work.

COVID-19 Testing

One of UTSW buildings on campus

Keeping the campus informed

As the virus began to reach pandemic proportions in the spring, UT Southwestern initiated daily email emergency updates for the campus community, set up an email box to answer all questions, and established a website to gather all COVID-19 information. In April, President Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky began holding weekly briefings.

Weekly Briefing

A woman with a mask and brown hair

From the front lines

At William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital,  doctors and nurses  donned  personal protective equipment  daily  to care for COVID-19 patients  separated from their closest family by the infectious disease.  The commitment and compassion  of these health care heroes became a symbol of the community’s fight against the pandemic.    

Photo Gallery

Different counties in the Dallas Metroplex

Forecasting model created

To track the course of the virus in North Texas, experts in bioinformatics, internal medicine, and emergency medicine  collaborated to create a sophisticated forecasting model to show the  spread of COVID-19  and predict its trajectory. The model, updated regularly, continues to provide valuable data for government and health care leaders in developing responses to the ongoing pandemic.  

Forecasting Model 

A woman on a virtual doctor's visit

Telehealth options expand 

Virtual care was  accelerated  into overdrive to help  patients keep  routine medical appointments  without any risk of infection. A UT Southwestern study revealed  that  expanded telehealth services proved effective at delivering patient care.  As of September, virtual care accounted for 25-30 percent of patient care interactions, equating to more than 2,000 patient visits per day.

Virtual Care 

A woman putting on her mask

Multilingual PSAs launched 

Several of the Medical Center’s physicians created public service announcements about COVID-19 in more than a dozen languages to inform our diverse community about the importance of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and using good hygiene to limit the spread of COVID-19. The short PSAs provide basic, useful information such as how to properly wear a mask.

Multilingual PSAs

A woman with a mask and brown hair

Groundbreaking research through the COVID-19 Prevalence Study

UT Southwestern’s COVID-19 Prevalence Study, in partnership with Texas Health Resources, local organizations, and community leaders, seeks to understand how many people have the virus and why some communities are hit harder than others.

Learn How You Can Help


DiscoverA man and woman in research lab

Give scientists a challenge and they will pursue it with ferocious tenacity. In 2020, the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 unleashed more than 200 research projects.

See Discovery in Action


Educate Students in classroom

Academic leaders reacted quickly and creatively to help medical students, residents, and other learners stay on track during the pandemic.

See Education in Action


EducateA woman wearing glasses and face mask

UT Southwestern’s health care heroes rose to the challenge of COVID-19, never giving up on their commitment to save lives.

See Healing in Action


Discover A man looking through virtual eyewear

UT Southwestern made a concerted effort to connect with the community this year – before and then after the pandemic that brought unique challenges – in new and different ways.

See Connection in Action


Masks used for protection from COVID-19Give

As heartbreaking as 2020 has been, the COVID-19 pandemic also brought out the best in the community.

See Giving in Action